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Zoo Says Goodbye to Memala the Orangutan

At 50, she was the oldest ape at the Zoo and the second oldest orangutan in an AZA-accredited facility.

Aug. 4, 2020 - Memala the Sumatran orangutan was humanely euthanized on July 31. In 2019, she was diagnosed with a condition called enteritis, which is similar to inflammatory bowel disease. According to ABQ BioPark veterinary team, Memala’s condition was previously managed through medication and diet, but her health and quality of life recently declined as treatments were not working as they had in the past. This was likely age related.

At 50 years old, she was the second oldest orangutan in an Association of Zoos and Aquariums-accredited facility. The median life expectancy is 32 years old for female orangutans.

Memala came to the ABQ BioPark in 1983 from Colorado Springs. She lived with the Zoo’s other four orangutans, Sarah, Tonka, Pixel and Rubi. According to her caretakers, she liked to spend most of her time with the males, snuggling up to Tonka and wrestling around with Pixel.

Memala was part of the Zoo family for 37 years, with many visitors growing up with her. She was often seen at the front of the exhibit watching the public and interacting at the glass window. Memala will be sorely missed by her caretakers and Zoo visitors.